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Denver muralists get help from LGBTQ group to protect them while they work

Posted at 5:32 AM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 14:33:46-04

DENVER — Art doesn't always have a rhythm, but it sometimes has a pattern, primed for expression.

Artist Karlee Mariel is creating a few protest pieces near 10th and Broadway.

“This is a George Floyd portrait. ... Just about everyone in America knows what he looks like and who he is,” she said.

She's done a few other murals in town, but had an issue working on her last mural off Colfax a couple weeks ago.

“All of a sudden, I hear this big, like something hitting, like an impact, two feet to my left,” she said.

Someone had thrown a big cup full of ice and liquid at her while driving by.

“It’s just one person out of so many but it's still discrimination,” she said.

She wanted to do future pieces but felt the need for help.

“We reached out to the LGBTQ communities — to all the different groups and organizations. We got a really amazing contribution,” said her painting partner Armina Jusufagic.

That contribution came in the form of the Parasol Patrol, a group known for helping LGBTQ people feel safe.

Parasol Patrol Co-Founder Pasha Eve said its not a security force.

"We’re just wanting to keep people safe,” Eve said.

It's a colorful but silent shield of sorts and a calming presence for the LGBTQ community.

“I feel amazing. I feel very safe. I feel like I can paint,” Jusufagic said.

But Parasol Patrol is not used to shielding artists.

“Normally, we shield kids but we have this artist that’s working on this amazing piece,” Eve said.

On Wednesday afternoon, a group of children walked by and, with the artists' permission, added their own contribution.

“I loved it. They were like, 'Oh, we’re painting a rainbow ocean,'” Mariel said.

It's an appropriate description.

“That makes us feel good to be able to brighten anyone’s day,” Eve said.

Mariel added that the kids didn't even know they were participating in history.

Everybody was trying to paint a brighter and more colorful future.

"It’s not about one of us — it’s about all of us,” Mariel said.

The artists said they hope the peaceful protesters see the murals and know they support them.